- Limited apps in the Amazon app marketplace
- Does not run stock Android OS
Amazon’s third iteration of the Kindle Fire tablet offers a much sleeker design than its predecessors. Like the name suggests the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” has a 8.9 inch HD screen that boasts an impressive 339 ppi, on par with the Google’s Nexus 10. According to Amazon’s website, the HDX 8.9” also offers 100 percent color accuracy and reduced glare for better bright light viewing, which, according to Gizmodo, makes the Movie- and TV-watching experience “revelatory.” Aside from the excellent screen quality, the tablet sports a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and up to 64GB of onboard storage. Considering its relatively large screen, many reviewers are impressed by its overall small size. The tablet weighs in at 374 grams (13.2 ounces) and measures 0.31 inches (0.78 cm) thick.
One of the features that differentiates it from other Fire tablets is the inclusion of the rear-facing 8 Megapixel camera complete with LED flash, image stabilization and a wide aperture for better low light pictures. Most critics find the addition of the rear-camera an upgrade over other tablet cameras with CNET going so far as to call it “spiffy.”
Aside from the camera, experts seem to enjoy the addition of the Mayday feature which provides free 24/7 tech support on the device as well as the ability to download Amazon Prime Instant Videos for offline viewing. The tech support feature connects users to an available tech representative who can gain access to the user’s Kindle and help by drawing images, launching apps, issuing commands or changing settings. Techland notes that users should not be worried about privacy concerns as Amazon reps only have access to the Kindle during the help session and can only control the tablet with the user’s permission. Most reviewers agree that the tech support has been quick and helpful and is a great feature for more mainstream users.
Despite the plethora of exciting new features, there are a few qualms. One of the largest issues, according to Techland, is the small app marketplace. Like the other Fire Tablets, this Kindle is locked to the Amazon ecosystem. This unfortunately means that many of the apps available to Android and Apple devices might not be available. ZDNet also notes that since it runs on its own OS - dubbed Fire 3.0 - many people who prefer Android might deem the Fire 3.0 OS a “dealbreaker.”
Overall, most experts find this to be an excellent mid-sized tablet for the price. Gizmodo states that the “Kindle HDX has eked out a victory, pulling waaaay ahead on the hardware front…” Slashgear goes on to say “It’s fast, portable, and well constructed…”